What have been the major evolutions for Impact Oil and Gas on the African continent over recent years?
Impact has established itself as a frontier company being able to identify, secure and explore very large potential prospects – often in deep water off the continental shelf. Because of the potential of the prospects in Impact’s portfolio it has been successful in attracting very large companies such as ExxonMobil, Total, Statoil and CNOOC as partners. This validation by the majors is very important in Impact’s development as it confirms the very large potential of Impact’s prospects and reassures shareholders of the long term viability of Impact’s portfolio.
What do you see as the key challenges facing the industry in the region over the coming 5-10 years and how is Impact Oil and Gas positioned to overcome these challenges?
The major challenge is to get governments to recognise the potential benefits to their countries in having large prospects, explored and developed. Governments need to set the fiscal terms at levels that provide incentives for companies to invest so that there is a win-win for both the country and the investing companies. Very large projects which require investment of several billion dollars require reasonable rates of return and fiscal stability to encourage shareholders to take the substantial risk inherent in these projects.
Where do you see the opportunities for growth within the industry in the next 5 years and how is Impact Oil and Gas positioned to support these opportunities?
The opportunity for growth lies in developing large, high-quality reservoirs in deeper waters. Analysis has shown that good quality reservoirs that require a relatively small number of producing wells to recover the reserves can be developed economically at relatively low oil prices and can compete very favourably with onshore tight oil production. The great advantage in producing large reservoirs with high poroperm is that the production profile could last for 30 or 40 years compared with a similar number of months for tight oil production.
What game-changing discovery/ project/ technology is currently making waves?
The technology that is a real game-changer for exploration is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The industry records so much data in its exploration programmes that it is impossible to analyse all of the inherent information using conventional techniques. AI will allow companies to build a wealth of subsurface knowledge which can be interrogated efficiently to produce much more accurate maps, diagrams and fluid analyses and, thereby, increasing the level of success in exploration. Companies that are early adopters of AI will find their exploration programmes becoming more successful and will get stronger shareholder support.
How important is the Africa Assembly as a meeting platform for the industry and what are you most looking forward to at the Assembly?
The Africa Assembly is primarily a networking event. We deal with a number of major companies and it is a convenient way of meeting a large number of senior executives at one venue. It is also generally well attended by investors and fund managers which helps to bring the Impact story to a wider audience and to lay the groundwork for future funding.
About Mike Doherty
Mike Doherty started his oil and gas career in the seismic industry. In 1971 he joined Seismograph Services Ltd (‘SSL’) as a seismologist following his qualification with a Physics degree from Trinity College Dublin. In 1979 he and two other colleagues founded Merlin Geophysical as an independent UK-based seismic company. This company was sold to Schlumberger in 1986.
Mike then joined the E&P sector by establishing Quadrant Exploration with blocks in the Porcupine Basin offshore Ireland. This was merged with Ardmore Petroleum and, subsequently, Tuskar Resources plc where Mike was CEO. Tuskar had a diverse portfolio – its most notable success was the discovery of the giant Rubiales Field in the Llanos Basin of Colombia. Mike moved on from Tuskar to take control of Tur-Kan Petrol (Turkey) and then merge it with the Toronto listed Trans-Dominion Energy Corporation. This was later sold to Toreador Resources. In 2010, Mike and four other upstream colleagues set up Impact Oil & Gas Limited as an independent exploration company focusing on frontier acreage offshore Africa. Mike is a member of the PESGB and a Fellow of the Geological Society.